Cedar Falls will demolish eight flooded homes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls will demolish eight flooded homes


by Jenn Jarvis

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- There was no argument or debate as the Cedar Falls City Council voted to condemn eight flood damaged homes. These are the first homes condemned and demolished by the city.

The city is calling these voluntary condemnations because all of the property owners have applied to be part of a possible buyout program and agreed to have their houses demolished.

One of those owners is Jim Siems. He lived at 221 Claire Street for 35 years, and in all those years the water never rose above his basement. Until this year, when five feet of water filled the main floor of his home. That's when he and and his wife decided it was time to leave.

"It's just the flow of the water is different now and with the new highways and all that other stuff, so it's time to go for higher ground and forget about it," Siems said.

His is one of eight homes condemned by the city to be demolished. It does not guarantee the homes will be bought out as part of the federal buyout in the spring. But it is another step in the rebuilding process.

These homes were chosen by the city because the owners showed interest or the house created a potential risk.

"They're in very bad shape. There's concern for liability insurance and safety for people in the neighborhood, etc.," Mayor Jon Crews said.

Some in North Cedar are still debating whether to leave or stay and rebuild. And while it wasn't an easy decision, Siems says for him, it was the right one.

"It's hard, you know, the love you put into it and watch it get destroyed, but we're alive, life goes on, just pick up and go and do the best you can," he said.

The eight homes will be demolished using insurance money or public assistance money from FEMA.

Also at the meeting, people in North Cedar presented a petition with more than 600 signatures to Mayor Crews and the City Council. It requests the city devote more attention and money for infrastructure to North Cedar.

Federal buyouts are expected to happen in the spring. So far, the city of Cedar Falls has not prioritized the properties, but says there probably will not be enough federal money for all of them.

Online Reporter: Jenn Jarvis
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